ROAD WORK ALERT: ‘Mini-roundabout’ construction to start at 8th/108th

October 16th, 2018 at 6:20 pm Posted in Traffic, Transportation, White Center news | No Comments »

An alert from King County Roads – work starts next Monday (October 22nd) on the “mini-roundabout” planned for 8th SW/SW 108th. They expect to be done by Friday, November 16th. From the project webpage:

Project description
Design and construct a mini-roundabout at 8th Avenue SW and SW 108th Street, including a rectangular rapid flashing beacon at the west crosswalk, improvements to the sidewalks, ramps to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other safety improvements.

Why is King County doing this project?
This project will improve the safety of pedestrians and other users in the White Center community. The intersection was identified as a High Collision Location in King County’s report in 2016. The project aligns with the County Executive’s priorities of Equity and Social Justice, and Regional Mobility. The intersection is part of a designated “safe route to school” for four Highline schools, and connects to proposed project 1129600 RSD Highline School District Improvements. On-site observations by Road Services Division staff indicate that some drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians — many of which are students. In addition, pedestrian ramps on all quadrants of the intersection are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Family Halloween Carnival coming up at Steve Cox Memorial Park on October 27th

October 15th, 2018 at 11:56 pm Posted in Fun, Holidays, White Center news | No Comments »

(Photo courtesy King County Parks)

Early reminder so you can be sure this is on your calendar!

The Annual King County Parks Family Halloween Carnival is coming up on Saturday, October 27th from 2-5 pm at the White Center Community Center, in Steve Cox Memorial Park (1321 SW 102nd).

Doors open at 2 p.m. and admission is FREE.

Local teens have planned nearly 30 different spooky town-themed crafts and games for local children ages 10 and under.

Tickets for each activity are sold for .25 each or 4/$1.

In addition to the games, the carnival will also feature a free juggling performance at 3:30 p.m.

This year’s carnival is once again sponsored by the Teens and Staff of the White Center Teen Program. The WCTP offers free recreational, educational and social enrichment programming to over 1200 culturally diverse participants ages 12-19 each year. The program operates five days a week, forty-eight weeks a year and provides structured recreational classes and programs, homework assistance, educational and computer resources, leadership training, volunteer opportunities, special events, field trips, and drop-in activities.

The Annual Halloween Carnival is traditionally one of the teens favorite volunteer events. Program staff estimate at least 50 teens will volunteer at the event. For additional Information, please contact Darlene Sellers, Recreation Coordinator at 206.477.2104

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Know this dog? Found in White Center

October 12th, 2018 at 9:02 pm Posted in Pets, White Center news | 2 Comments »

Claire e-mailed to say, “We found this pit looking male dog on SW 116th and 12th in White Center/Burien. He has no name tag and he is not chipped.” Your dog? Call 206.931.3387

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No classes today in Highline Public Schools

October 12th, 2018 at 7:16 am Posted in Highline School District, White Center news | No Comments »

It’s a teacher in-service day, so students have the day off in Highline Public Schools and those who follow its calendar. Just to the north in Seattle Public Schools, too.

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Signed up yet? Fall 2018 edition of Duwamish Alive! approaches

October 10th, 2018 at 11:56 am Posted in Environment, How to Help, White Center news | No Comments »

Twice a year, you have a chance to make a difference along the Duwamish River and its watershed. Here’s the announcement for October 20th’s Duwamish Alive! multi-site work party:

What is the connection between the Duwamish River and our local Orca? The Duwamish River is home to 5 species of salmon including the vital Chinook, which is a critical food source for Puget Sound Orca. Orca depend on the dwindling Chinook runs for the majority of their diet, and Chinook depend on healthy salmon habitat in the Duwamish.

Duwamish Alive! will have volunteers working throughout the Duwamish Watershed to improve the health of our green spaces, creeks and especially our Duwamish River, which provide salmon critical habitat. Volunteers are needed at many local sites which provide critical habitat for our community and our river.
Duwamish Alive! celebrates the connection of our urban parks and open spaces to our river, wildlife and community. Starting at 10:00 am, volunteers of all ages, at multiple Duwamish sites throughout the watershed from river to forest, will participate in a day of major cleanup and habitat restoration in the ongoing effort to keep our river alive and healthy for our communities, salmon and orca.

A special opening ceremony will be held at T107 Park, across from the Duwamish Longhouse at 10:00, with special honoring of George Blumberg and Willard Brown for their work in restoring the Duwamish
Opening Ceremonies:

T107 Park 9:45 – 10:30
Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribe
James Rasmussen, Presentation of Honors
Chris Wilke from Puget Soundkeeper, Stewardship
Sameer Ranade from Front and Centered Highlighting I-1631

Longfellow Creek at Greg Davis Park 10:00
Representative Joe Fitzgibbon from the 34th District, State House

Duwamish Alive! is a collaborative stewardship effort of conservation groups, businesses, and government entities, recognizing that our collective efforts are needed to make lasting, positive improvements in the health and vitality of the Green-Duwamish Watershed. Twice a year these events organize hundreds of volunteers to work at 14 sites in the river’s watershed, connecting the efforts of Seattle and Tukwila communities.

To volunteer, visit www.DuwamishAlive.org to see the different volunteer opportunities and to the contact for the site of your choice, or email info@duwamishalive.org This is a family friendly event for all ages, tools, instruction and snacks are provided.

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VIDEO: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hosts 34th District State Senate candidates’ forum

October 7th, 2018 at 10:26 pm Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, White Center news | 4 Comments »

(White Center Now/West Seattle Blog video)

Voting for the general election starts in less than 2 weeks. The most hotly contested race on local ballots is for 34th District State Senator, with Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock emerging from an 11-candidate primary. The latest major appearance by both was at this past Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting; we recorded it on video and you can watch the unedited hour-and-a-half-long forum above. We’ve also noted key points in text below – not full transcriptions, just excerpted points, but perhaps of interest if you don’t have time to watch the video or go see one of their upcoming appearances (listed below):

INTRODUCTIONS: Each got 5 introductory minutes. Braddock was born in Texas but her family moved to Bellingham when she was a toddler and she was there through college; after living in some other places, she moved to West Seattle 19 years ago. She’s a mom of three, 11-year-old daughter, 14-year-old son, 19-year-old son.

In the context of mentioning the day her younger son came home talking about an active-shooter drill, she mentioned that she’s for Initiative 1639 and even if it doesn’t pass, she said she would sponsor bills to be sure “each part of it” move forward. She also recapped her work history for County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

Nguyen talked about growing up in White Center – born in what’s now Seola Gardens but was then Park Lake – the son of refugees from Vietnam. He said they struggled in those early years but the community gave to his family, including building a ramp for his dad after a crash left him a quadriplegic. His family lived in Burien for a while and now Nguyen lives in West Seattle, a dad of two kids, 1 and 3. He talked about his career in technology strategy and job-training resources.

First question: NHUAC president Liz Giba showed data about the public-health discrepancies in the area, and North Highline residents having a life expectancy as low as 76 years old, six years below the lowest life expectancy for someone in West Seattle and asked the candidates if they believed it was an accident.

Nguyen said no, it is reality, and he experienced it growing up. “Certain parts” of the area need more attention.

Braddock also said no, it’s not an accident, and talked about the county using an “equity lens” that she believes the state needs to use as well.

Nguyen said more community representation in the decisionmaking process is important, especially with regards to cultural competence.

Second question, from NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin, was about low-income housing and whether it’s OK that more is being built in North Highline because land is cheap.

Braddock said no but also spoke about the challenge of displacement and how her campaigning brought her to many doorsteps where people said they would have to move. She also said that affordable-housing needs should be considered community by community, rather than one size fits all.

Nguyen said that land’s value needs to be considered as more than a price, but also what that land means to the community. He also espoused a holistic look at affordable housing – are services available? And he mentioned the importance of tax reform as seniors and others deal with rising property taxes.

Dobkin followed up by asking their opinions about the siting of affordable housing. Nguyen said it should be “all over the place.” Braddock said she supports “inclusionary zoning” as well as the Block Project, which seeks to site tiny houses in people’s yards as a “community-inclusive way to provide housing for homeless” people.

Next question dealt with gang violence, and recent Burien murders related to it. Is it related to poverty and a lack of opportunities? Yes, said Braddock, and the community needs to work closely with young people to fix that. Giving youth the option to learn about trades can help. “We can’t let up – we start to do this work … and then we take our foot off the pedal and we think the problem is solved,” Braddock said. Nguyen mentioned recently being at a Burien City Council meeting and noted that more money was being invested in policing than in youths’ futures. “We need to make sure we’re putting the emphasis on prevention,” he said.

Then a frequent NHUAC discussion topic, the state-allowed concentration of marijuana stores in North Highline and the robberies that have happened at most of those stores. “Concentrating in one area is not appropriate,” Nguyen said. He suggested the problem was again a lack of representation and an absence of leaders “pushing back.” Braddock said that while marijuana is legal because of an initiative, it was “clumsily” implemented. Both agreed that the allocation of tax revenues needs to be revisited to focus on communities’ needs.

Next, homelessness and how to help unsheltered people. Braddock noted that the crisis “has been building for many, many years” and told an anecdote about someone sleeping in her carport a decade ago while visiting his mother at a nearby care center. She said she supports 24/7 shelters – “navigation center” type shelters – and looking at “more surplus lands” for affordable housing/shelters. She says WSDOT is exempt from surplus-land review and would like to see that change. She also mentioned funding generated by a state document-recording fee and “protecting” that; Nguyen noted that it’s not generating what it used to and said it should be brought back to its former level. He also suggested tax incentives/credits for property owners who need it to fix up their property – provided they keep a certain level of affordability for tenants.

If they were elected, what would they do the rest of the time (given that legislator is a part-time job)? Braddock said she couldn’t keep her current job as it’s too demanding so she’d have to get something else. Nguyen said he’d be able to keep his job because his employer Microsoft had a paid-time-off program that would cover his legislative time.

An attendee question next: Candidates talk about supporting small business but don’t follow through, so does either candidate have small-business experience and what would they do to support such businesses? Nguyen said his family had run a billiard hall in White Center at one point and he saw firsthand the taxes that small business have to deal with; he said he’d like to abolish B&O taxes for small- and medium-sized businesses. He also observed that other costs, including health care, can be onerous for small-business owners too. And he spoke of supporting a friend who was setting up a business and needed help with other important things such as setting up a website. Braddock said that her family had some small businesses including a restaurant that lasted about a year, and she saw “the energy and the work” that went into running businesses. She suggested that the 34th District could have for example a “small business advisory committee” surfacing issues to her.

Another attendee question involved the difficulty of families being able to afford participating in sports and other programs. Braddock voiced support for helping with that and ensuring that families know about grants that are available. Nguyen mentioned his past involvement as a youth served by the local Boys and Girls Club and said he agreed that more funding was needed for youth programs.

Next attendee question: The Public Works Trust Fund, loans from the state to local agencies for local projects, and concerns about those loans’ availability. Nguyen said he’s not familiar with it but promised that he would fight for local needs. Braddock talked about coalition-building to evangelize support for that sort of need.

And another: A relatively new North Highline resident talked about property-tax breaks for seniors and wanting the eligibility level to expand. Braddock said that was another example of why tax reform is so important. She also said greater awareness is needed for already-available tax breaks. Nguyen also said a more-equitable tax structure – including a capital-gains tax – is important.

Asked about campaign contributions, Braddock defended accepting $750 from Coca-Cola and said she is not supporting the anti-tax Initiative 1634 that soda companies are funding. She said she can’t afford to self-finance her campaign. Nguyen said he can’t either but doesn’t take “corporate PAC money.”

Another question was from an attendee who said that anecdotally she’s noticing more teenage pregnancy and wondered about public-health services’ availabilities. Both candidates agreed the situation should be examined.

Next person asked about rent control. Braddock said “traditional” rent control didn’t seem to have worked but she would support lifting the ban so that local governments could explore “opportunities for innovation” in keeping rents down. Nguyen said he’s “for rent control” and supports strengthening tenants’ rights.

An attendee asked about the Washington Hospitality Association and its opposition to the $15 minimum wage. Nguyen said he “took a meeting” with the organization but was not looking for their money or endorsement. Both said they support the $15 minimum wage.

Next: Their positions on North Highline annexation – when, who, how to get there? Nguyen said residents should decide ‘where they go and how that looks.’ He said he personally favors Seattle but acknowledges it could lead to faster gentrification and displacement. “My family still lives here and they’re going to have a hard time staying here if prices go up any (further).” Braddock also said it’s up to the community and the county needs to do the best it can with the services it provides. She also noted that Seattle is the only city potentially pursuing annexation right now.

Asked about veterans’ issues, both mentioned veterans in their families and said it’s vital to ensure veterans can get the care they need.

An attendee who said she had worked in sexual-violence prevention asked what the candidates would do in that area. Braddock mentioned her proposal for consent education becoming part of health education in schools. Nguyen said he agreed and also wanted to strengthen laws and procedures related to assaults.

WHAT’S NEXT: Upcoming forums announced for both candidates include:
-Tuesday (October 9), Admiral Neighborhood Association (6:30 pm, Sanctuary at Admiral, 42nd/Lander)
-October 17th, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (7 pm, location TBA)
-October 18th, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (6:30 pm, DAV Hall, 4857 Delridge Way SW)

VOTING: November 6th is Election Day – get your ballot into a drop box by 8 pm or get it to the US Postal Service (remember, stamps no longer needed!) in plenty of time to ensure it’s postmarked by that date.

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SUNDAY: City of Seattle reps at Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee meeting

October 6th, 2018 at 8:45 am Posted in Myers Way, White Center news | No Comments »

Last month, nobody from the City of Seattle was present for the regular monthly meeting of the Community Advisory Committee for its sanctioned encampment near the county/city line, Camp Second Chance. This month, they’re apparently making up for it. Here’s the full announcement for tomorrow’s meeting:

The next meeting of the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee will be Sunday, October 7 at 2:00 pm.

Arrowhead Gardens Community Room, 9200 2nd Ave SW.

This month, in addition to our usual updates and stats from the camp, we will have guests joining us from the City of Seattle for a Q & A on housing and to help answer the question: What is the City doing to build new affordable housing quickly?

Dan Foley, Office of Housing
Jesseca Brand, Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA)
Lisa Gustaveson, Human Services Department

We will also be receiving an update on the recent cleanup activities and future plans for the area on the east side of Myers Way.

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SATURDAY: First of two White Center Library events looking at the history of hip-hop

October 5th, 2018 at 1:46 pm Posted in Arts, Music, White Center Library, White Center news | No Comments »

Tomorrow – Saturday, October 6th – brings the first of two White Center Library programs focusing on the history of hip-hop. 2-3 pm, you are invited to hear about “Race, Class, Culture, and the History of Hip-Hop in the Northwest.” Then on October 27th, also 2-3 pm, King Khazm of 206 Zulu will speak about “Hip-Hop and It Don’t Stop.” Both presentations are free and open to all; the WC Library is at 1409 SW 107th.

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Open house in White Center next week for RapidRide H Line

October 3rd, 2018 at 10:46 pm Posted in Transportation, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Metro Route 120 isn’t converting to the RapidRide H Line until 2021, but planning continues, and the next stop for your feedback is one week from today:

Metro and Seattle will share updates on the project, including the future route proposal and station locations, and seek feedback on RapidRide station amenities and improvements that make it easier for people to reach transit.

The City of Seattle will also share its early design for a reimagined Delridge Way Southwest with bus lanes, landscaped medians, crosswalk improvements, protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenway connections, signal upgrades, paving, water and sewer pipe upgrades, spot parking and bike lane removal, and public art.

In recent months, King County Metro partnered with the City of Burien to determine routing through their community, and also finalized the preferred route, planned stop locations, and pedestrian, lighting and RapidRide station improvements.

This open house is a chance to learn about routing adjustments, the locations of consolidated and added stops, and safety and roadway improvements to be included in the project. The public also can help prioritize which RapidRide station amenities they would most like to see at each station.

Meetings: In person and online

· Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Mount View Elementary in White Center (10811 12th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98146) from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Note: Child care is provided on site, and interpreter services in Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Somali.

· Online open house: Starting Oct. 10, to be available at Metro’s RapidRide H Line page. This website will be equipped with translations by selecting a language from a drop-down box in the top left corner.

BACKGROUND

Upgrading route 120 achieves goals of the Metro Connects long-range plan and voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle. RapidRide H Line service is scheduled to launch service in fall 2021.

Today, Metro Route 120 is tied for ninth-busiest bus route in King County and carries approximately 8,700 customers each weekday along the 13-mile corridor between Burien, White Center, Westwood Village, Delridge, and Downtown Seattle. The City of Seattle funds additional bus service on the route 120 thanks to the voter-approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District.

To upgrade the route to RapidRide levels of speed, frequency and reliability, improvements are planned along the corridor that include transit priority treatments – such as bus lanes and more green lights for buses – and RapidRide amenities including unique stations, off-board ORCA fare payment kiosks, and real-time bus arrival information signs. Metro currently operates six RapidRide lines across King County with these amenities.

This project is funded by King County Metro, the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle and additional grant funding, which has in part been secured and is also being sought by both Seattle and King County.

SDOT and the City of Seattle play a key role in supporting this effort by funding major upgrades to Delridge Way Southwest within the city limits. SDOT is designing new bus lanes to make Metro’s RapidRide transit investment more reliable, and adding bike lanes and neighborhood greenway connections, arterial crosswalks and signals, and walkways to get people between their homes, workplaces and RapidRide.

In addition to proposing a new lane layout for public consideration, the City of Seattle’s investments plan includes basic infrastructure such as paving the northern part of the street, upgrading sections of old water and sewer pipes, and improving street lighting. The project will also invest in the Delridge neighborhood’s future and beautify the street by funding new public art and adding new landscaped median islands.

West Seattle residents and business owners will see these investments in their neighborhood thanks to Seattle voters, who partially funded this project with the nine-year Levy to Move Seattle.

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New Department of Local Services has its first director

October 2nd, 2018 at 11:24 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | No Comments »

Announced by King County today:

Executive Dow Constantine appointed John Taylor to serve as the first director of the Department of Local Services, which will better coordinate and deliver direct services to the nearly 250,000 people who live in unincorporated King County.

Taylor currently serves as an assistant division director at the King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks. He will lead the newly created Department of Local Services, which will consist of a Permitting Division for development permit review, code enforcement, and subarea planning, a Road Services Division responsible for 1,500 miles of roads and 182 bridges, and a Director’s Office, which will include the Community Service Areas program.

“John Taylor will provide the leadership our new department needs to deliver outstanding service to the quarter-million people of unincorporated King County,” said Executive Constantine. “I want the Department of Local Services to start with a strong foundation that empowers our talented employees to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction, and that is the workplace culture John will promote.”

King County is the regional government for 2.2 million residents, offering services such as transit, public health, public safety, emergency management, and wastewater treatment. For the nearly 250,000 people who live in urban and rural unincorporated communities, the county is the de facto city government.

“Executive Constantine wants to make sure that everyone who lives in unincorporated King County has their own version of a city hall, a hub that coordinates services that improve their quality of life,” said Taylor. “Having a new department dedicated to unincorporated communities will make it easier for us to deliver direct services that would be unmatched in any city.”

Taylor coordinated a landmark agreement signed last year by Executive Constantine that will simultaneously restore salmon habitat, strengthen the region’s agricultural economy, and reduce flood risks in the Snoqualmie Valley.

He earned his master’s degree in public administration at the University of Vermont.

The framework for the new department is based on a study that Senior Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett conducted at Executive Constantine’s request to determine how to better deliver direct and contracted services in unincorporated King County, including transportation, public safety, clean water, and increased access to opportunity.

The King County Council unanimously approved Executive Constantine’s proposal to create the Department of Local Services, which will begin operations on Jan. 1, 2019. Taylor’s appointment is subject to approval by the King County Council.

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White Center business note: Northmart partners with U-Haul

October 1st, 2018 at 11:28 pm Posted in Businesses, White Center news | No Comments »

(Photo courtesy U-Haul and Northmart)

U-Haul sent this announcement that Northmart (9841 15th SW) is now offering its products and services:

U-Haul Company of Washington is pleased to announce that Northmart Furniture has signed on as a U-Haul® neighborhood dealer to serve the Seattle community.

Northmart Furniture at 9841 15th Ave. SW will offer U-Haul trucks, towing equipment, moving supplies, and in-store pickup for boxes.

The arrival of U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 is revolutionizing the moving industry through its more convenient, more secure way to pick up and return a truck. U-Haul live verification technology allows rental transactions to be carried out entirely on a smartphone at any hour – day or night. There are no membership fees. Simply visit uhaul.com to create an online account.

Normal business hours are 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Reserve U-Haul products at this dealer location by calling 206-686-2641 or visiting (this webpage) today.

Northmart Furniture owner Hussin Safi is proud to team with the industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage to better meet the demands of King County.

U-Haul and Northmart Furniture are striving to benefit the environment through sustainability initiatives. Truck sharing is a core U-Haul sustainability business practice that allows individuals to access a fleet of trucks that is larger than what they could access on an individual basis.

Every U-Haul truck placed in a community helps keep 19 personally owned large-capacity vehicles, pickups, SUVs and vans off the road. Fewer vehicles means less traffic congestion, less pollution, less fuel burned and cleaner air.

It’s been almost five years since Northmart opened on the south side of downtown White Center.

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LAST CALL! Want to help Highline Public Schools decide which schools to build next?

September 26th, 2018 at 2:18 pm Posted in Highline School District, White Center news | Comments Off on LAST CALL! Want to help Highline Public Schools decide which schools to build next?

Highline Public Schools is recruiting for its Capital Facilities Advisory Committee and today’s the last day to throw your name in for consideration. Just go here!

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Myers Way east-side cleanup has begun

September 25th, 2018 at 11:10 am Posted in Myers Way, White Center news | 1 Comment »

That photo from Monday afternoon shows just a few of the many vehicles marshaled for the major cleanup under way in the east-side woods along Myers Way. As we’ve been reporting on partner site West Seattle Blog, Southwest Precinct police have been saying for two weeks that this was finally happening, and on Monday, the city announced it was under way. They explain here what they’re doing and what’s planned for the site to keep it from reverting once the cleanup’s over. Meantime, we’re told the most-extensive work is likely to take all week. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is scheduled to speak at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, which along with other groups including the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council has long been agitating for the city (and state, since WSDOT owns the right-of-way along Highway 509) to do something here.

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ELECTION 2018: 34th District State Senate candidates @ October meeting of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

September 22nd, 2018 at 5:10 pm Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, Politics, White Center news | Comments Off on ELECTION 2018: 34th District State Senate candidates @ October meeting of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

As noted in WCN coverage of the September North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, next month, NHUAC plans a forum with 34th District State Senate candidates Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock. That’s now less than two weeks away – Thursday, October 4th – so they’re reminding you to be there! 7 pm Thursday, October 4th, at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th).

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MISSING: Have you seen Jackie?

September 19th, 2018 at 4:38 pm Posted in White Center news | 2 Comments »

By suggestion, we are crossposting here about West Seattle resident Jackie Dupras. She has long been active in the community and could be anywhere. Her daughter says they are searching and posting flyers. Jackie is described as “74, diagnosed with dementia and increasing memory issues, 5’3″, 135 lbs., reddish gray hair, green eyes.” Last seen Sunday in West Seattle’s North Admiral neighborhood, in the 1900 block of 46th Ave SW. Call 911 if you have information.

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TODAY: Lunch and Learn in White Center, ‘Diversifying the Teacher Workforce’

September 19th, 2018 at 12:39 am Posted in Education, White Center news | Comments Off on TODAY: Lunch and Learn in White Center, ‘Diversifying the Teacher Workforce’

The Equity in Education Coalition continues its series of Lunch and Learn discussions today, again at noon at Bethaday Community Learning Space in White Center:

Free, but RSVPs are appreciated – go here.

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VIDEO: Recognize this robber?

September 19th, 2018 at 12:10 am Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | Comments Off on VIDEO: Recognize this robber?

Recognize him? If you do, you might be able to help solve this White Center holdup:

It happened just before 8 am on July 30th at Uncle Ike’s in White Center, but the video is being circulated now. The robber is described as 20 to 30 years old, wearing a dark hoodie and dark pants, carrying a satchel, armed with a handgun. He held up the shop and took off on foot. If you have any information on his identity, call 911.

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FOLLOWUP: King County finalizes plan for new Department of Local Services

September 18th, 2018 at 2:29 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 3 Comments »

With annexation apparently not on the horizon, White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline will be relying on King County for some time to come. The plan for a county Department of Local Servicesannounced last January – is now officially on the way to reality. Here’s the announcement:

King County Executive Dow Constantine thanked the Metropolitan King County Council for its unanimous vote to establish a new Department of Local Services to improve the coordination and delivery of services in unincorporated areas of the county.

The new department will consist of a Permitting Division for development permit reviews, code enforcement, and subarea planning, a Road Services Division with responsibility for 1,500 miles of County roads and 182 bridges, and the Community Services Area program.

“Our new department will help us deliver the highest level of customer service to the nearly quarter-million people who live in unincorporated King County, which would be the second-largest city in our state,” said Executive Constantine. “We are creating a go-to agency for the people who live in rural and urban unincorporated areas for direct services that improve the quality of life in our region.”

The ordinance approved today establishes the new Department of Local Services effective Jan. 1, 2019 — the same date on which Metro Transit becomes a stand-alone department. Executive Constantine expects to name the first director of Local Services in October following a competitive recruitment process.

“Our staff members have met with community councils and associations throughout unincorporated King County, and heard from residents at ten recent community town halls,” said Harold Taniguchi, Director of the King County Department of Transportation, who has been leading the transition to the new agency. “Thanks to their insights, the new department will be ready to hit the ground running in January.”

“I’m excited for the new Department of Local Services and eager for the opportunity we have to create the best-run local government,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, whose district serves a wide area of urban and rural northeast King County, said. “For the first time, unincorporated residents will have a director in the Executive’s cabinet dedicated to addressing their ongoing and emergent needs while delivering the high-quality services they deserve.”

“As a former city mayor, I understand the importance and complexity of providing local government services, such as roads, surface water management, and police,” said Councilmember Claudia Balducci, one of the co-sponsors to the ordinance. “As a County Councilmember I appreciate the challenges of providing local services to our far-flung unincorporated area. The creation of a new Department of Local Services provides us the opportunity to be more coordinated and more responsive to the residents for whom King County is the only local government.”

“From White Center to Vashon Island to the foothills of the Cascades, our unincorporated areas have unique and equally important needs,” King County Council Chair Joe McDermott. “Our residents there deserve flexible and proactive service from their local government, making the creation of this department an exciting step forward for the County.”

Executive Constantine also thanked Senior Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett for leading a Local Services Initiative that studied ways to improve how the county delivers direct and contracted services in unincorporated areas, including road and bridge services, public safety, clean water, and increased access to opportunities.

The Department of Local Services will be funded by existing revenues, and will be included in the 2019-2020 biennial proposed budget that the Executive will send to the Council on Sept. 24. The council is scheduled to adopt a King County budget by Thanksgiving.

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Evergreen High School to get new synthetic-turf field, partly funded by Seahawks grant

September 11th, 2018 at 10:36 pm Posted in Schools, Sports, White Center news | 2 Comments »

Today’s announcement is from the Seahawks:

Highline Public Schools will install a synthetic turf field at Evergreen High School thanks in part to a $250,000 grant from the Seattle Seahawks through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program.

The grant from the Seahawks, the NFL Foundation, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is part of more than $3 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.

The NFL Foundation/LISC Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Foundation and LISC, the nation’s leading community development support organization, has committed nearly $46 million to the program since 1998, supporting 336 projects nationwide. Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements including irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. Grassroots grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.

LISC identifies local, nonprofit, community-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and neighborhood parks. Through the program, local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their communities. The agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.

“In many ways, the community of White Center and our scholar-athletes attending Evergreen and Cascade will significantly benefit from the facility improvements on campus thanks to these generous grants by the Seahawks and King County,” said Highline Public Schools Athletic Director Phil Willenbrock.

“This investment represents more than just a new field to play on – it is also about creating a gathering space to help build community, teach important life lessons, and continues to allow our children to dream big. Thank you to the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks for helping make a difference for families as the lives of many will be touched by this award,” said LISC Program Vice President, Joseph Horiye.

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King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht tells North Highline Unincorporated Area Council about her ‘intense’ start

September 10th, 2018 at 11:33 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off on King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht tells North Highline Unincorporated Area Council about her ‘intense’ start

(WCN photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

It wasn’t Mitzi Johanknecht‘s first guest appearance before the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, but last Thursday was her first appearance as King County Sheriff.

She said the start of her term has moved fast and been “intense.” It began with training that hadn’t happened in a few years. Eighty “less-lethal shotguns” – “beanbag rounds” – were distributed in the first quarter. And they’ve bought more, “with the goal of having almost everyone who’s in a patrol car … to have that tool on board with them.” She put through a supplemental budget request at mid-year and got funding for a full-time recruiter, which she said the department hasn’t had in years.

A few weeks ago, she sent King County Executive Dow Constantine her proposed budget. He asked for millions in cuts; “I said no,” the sheriff declared. “We respect that (he wants us to) cut our budget, but we see some real needs in our communities.” They’ve asked for a Regional Gang Task Force, starting with a sergeant and two detectives from KCSO, “so we can get our arms around the gang problem … (which) extends across all the borders.” In the next week or so, she said, we’ll see the executive’s budget, and she expects to see that included.

Another accomplishment: A fulltime community liaison, who will be working fulltime on drafting a community engagement plan. “This is a person who isn’t a badge or gun toter …somebody who actually has experience” in community engagement. The job will be posted soon, she said.

They’re also proposing combining some KCSO units to create a Youth and Family Section. And they’ll be working to fight fraud and scams – protecting seniors, for example. Also, they’re asking for a new Training Detective – looking ahead to the potential passage of Initiative 940 (De-escalate Washington) – and Mental Illness and Drug Dependency funds to coordinate someone that will work on services such as crisis intervention.

What about marijuana-related money – is it helping? asked NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin. The sheriff replied that in order to get some added resources, she suggested putting that money toward helping people with addiction issues, among other things.

Will the area get more officers, given the increased density? The sheriff said she asked for 18 more officers – 6 more at each of the unincorporated-area precincts. She also noted that a staffing study is under way.

As for those on staff already – NHUAC board members told the sheriff that they get great service from the people currently assigned – Kennamer, Peter Truong, etc.

NHUAC president Liz Giba asked about notification when new marijuana businesses are proposed, like recently opened Mr. Buds. Major Howard said they aren’t asked for their opinion at the start, only at renewals.

In an ensuing random discussion, the sheriff noted that she has trouble getting to all her e-mail.

P.S. 9:30-11 am October 3rd at Brass Knuckle Bistro, several KCSO reps will be available for Q&A at “Coffee with a Cop.”

Before the sheriff’s arrival, two members of her local team presented their update:

CRIME UPDATE: Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer (above left) said that KCSO has changed its data-storage methods, so he didn’t have as much data as usual. But they had a lot more “Part 1” crimes than usual. Precinct 4 commander Major Bryan Howard joined Kennamer at the front of the room and explained that every department in the U.S. is converting to a better way to parse data – but comparing new stats with old ones under the old system is apples to oranges. He said crime is going to look higher because “the way we are counting it” has changed. The shift, Howard said, happened back on July 16th. They are writing reports in a new system, too. Everything is compliant with NIBRS (explained here). He does believe auto theft is trending slightly higher. Kennamer said some repeat offenders are back on the street. Major Howard noted that juvenile offenders are now booked only for the most serious things.

The precinct currently has 31 officers but at full staffing should have 42, Howard said. They’re recruiting but it’s tough. Full staffing would mean 3 officers at a time in White Center rather than 2, and would mean more proactive policing, “the kind of policing we want to do, the kind of policing our new sheriff wants us to do.”

Howard also talked about the Myers Way encampment zone and said that about six weeks ago, they looked into concerns that campers had spilled into the unincorporated area. Those concerns turned out to be unfounded, he said; a grand total of one person was found camping outside city limits.

Giba asked for a status update on the Burien murders. Major Howard said there were no updates that he could discuss.

Also at Thursday night’s NHUAC meeting:

PLANT AMNESTY: Former NHUAC board member Dominic Barrera is now the executive director of this organization founded by the late Cass Turnbull.

Since taking over Plant Amnesty, Barrera said, he’s worked to broaden the organization’s audience beyond its North Seattle-heavy focus. Toward that end, PA will be offering classes in White Center starting this fall – first one, 7 pm Wednesday, September 19th, at North Highline Fire District HQ. October 24th and November 14th will be the two following classes – the topics include pruning. Barrera said he’s been learning too – “my rose bushes are better than ever, my Japanese maple is better than ever …”

He also discussed the Seattle tree-ordinance controversy. He said one big concern is the removal of “exceptional trees” from the protections in the new proposal. He also noted that the ordinance has now been placed on a slower track and won’t likely be voted on until early next year. He said one thing advocates will do in the meantime is case studies. NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin noted that in this area, “it’s a free for all” and “legacy trees” are being cut down with impunity. Barrera said an attempt to craft a countywide tree ordinance failed years ago.

REDEVELOPMENT: In downtown White Center, the former Club Evolucion and former Fantasy Shop are owned by the same investor and both will be split into multiple business spaces, Deputy Kennamer said he had learned. He also noted the work that’s under way on the new Greenbridge development on the east end of the area, off 4th SW.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Upcoming events include the White Center Food Bank gala at the Brockey Center on October 20th and the Southwest Youth and Family Services gala on October 27th. .. The White Center Eagles are having a First Responders Appreciation Dinner, 3-6 pm September 16th, free for any first responder …the White Center Art Walk is coming up, too.

UPCOMING MEETINGS: The October meeting will be a candidate forum with 34th District State Senate candidates Shannon Braddock and Joe Nguyen. In November, the King County Land Conservation Initiative is a planned topic, and they’re hoping for a state Liquor and Cannabis Board followup. In December, NHUAC is looking toward a legislative focus with State Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon and Eileen Cody, plus the State Senate seat winner. … NHUAC meets on first Thursdays most months, 7 pm at NHFD HQ (1243 SW 112th).

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